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Top 10 RPGs

Hello and welcome to my list of my top 10 favorite RPGs. I decided to have it as "RPGs" in general and not specifics like turn-based, as this way I can put SRPGs(strategy role playing games) as well as non turn-based RPGs that wouldn't really count as Action RPGs.  One game per series as I could probably fill up the list with series entries.

I like RPGs, they're my favorite genre of games. Probably because the first console game I played was like, Final Fantasy 7. That influenced so many things about me, most of all my taste in games, character types, and aesthetics. Because of that, I think, I set out to try and play as many RPGs as I could. And I've played quite a lot. I bet if you made some statistics, like a pie chart or something, the majority of the games I played would fit in the RPG category, especially turn based JRPGs. So yeah, I really fucking love them. But what are my favorites? Well, that's what I'm here to tell you! Without further ado, here they are:

10. Final Fantasy X

At number 10, we have Final Fantasy number 10. I'd say it's kinda hard to pick which Final Fantasy game, when I could just as easily say my favorite of the series is 5, 7 or 9. However I think the honor has to go to 10 since it's one of the more shit-on entries in the series and where a LOT of people say "Final Fantasy is Dead". I mean sure, 5 is unfairly hated(I can't hear your stupid complaints over the job system and Faris the badass pirate lady), 10 is just as much misunderstood and is also something I think I like a fair bit more. The deciding point for anyone on whether or not FFX is great or shit is whether or not you like the characters. Indeed, X is probably the most character driven of all the final fantasy games. While as time went on they all started leaning toward that, I think this one really was the most. Not one single event happens without there being a down period where all the characters take in what just happened, where you talk to them about it. The story always puts how the characters are reacting to something above what just happened. This can cause people who don't like character driven stories(read: idiots) to constantly be complaining that everyone is just standing around talking instead of acting and it can make people who already don't like the characters hate them even more since they're so focused on. If you're like me however and like character driven stories and like the characters, you should be one of the people who like this game. Personally I think the story, while having plenty of plotholes and contrivances, is incredibly well done and is one of the best of this type of story in general, very well executed. To top it all off, it has one of if not the best turn-based combat systems in any RPG. It's that style of gameplay pretty much perfected, can't really do it better than that.



9. Valkyria Chronicles

Wanna play probably the greatest strategy role playing game of all time? Not even of the non grid based ones, just straight up best. Well look no further than Sega's Valkyria Chronicles. You like history? The setting is pseudo-WWII, including a race of people hated across the continent that are shoved into concentration camps. Like the military? Well it's all old style(with some liberties taken with the tech) military combat. Like SRPGS? Well this is a good one for you. A fun and challenging strategy system that, for the most part, requires you to be calm and think your situation through. Careful planning and patience are rewarded. The story is of a small militia platoon called Squad 7, of the Gallian Military. Gallia is a small country in Europa, and one of the few nations left opposing the empire threatening to conquer all of the land. What starts as a small resistance ends up being the deciding factor in the war. It may not be the grandest story, or have a particularly well developed big bad, but it excels in being a well written war drama, with many emotionally powerful moments in the plot as well as lots of character building based on in-world stuff, like the hatred of the "darscens" which are believed to have caused a great catastrophe in the past. It's a story rife with drama, tragedy, and political intrigue. And the gameplay, oh boy. It's a game where the act of playing it can fill you with various emotions. It's great at conveying a sense of dread when you're being overwhelmed, hope when you're coming back from defeat, and triumph when you're winning or have won. Not to mention you've got a wonderful and endearing bunch of characters to control in your squad, all of which are fun to command. All units have CP(command points), so you get a certain amount each turn. With these you send your units out to fight, and they each have a set amount of stamina they can use to move with, when that runs out they have to stop. You can then have them take and action like shooting or throwing grenades, maybe even fixing a tank or healing an ally. Then you end their turn and select another. And your enemy gets a turn too. The combat system may seem simple, and really it is. That's where the fun and complexity comes from, is dealing with CP management as well as enemy attacks. You gotta be careful and plan ahead, or you'll end up dying.

 (#Squad7)

8. Chrono Cross

While I certainly like Chrono Trigger a good deal, and would say it's very good and well paced story, I really vastly prefer Chrono Cross. This game has a lot of flaws, which have been talked about at length by plenty of retro games critics and message board dwellers alike over the years, so I don't really need to go into that. I'll admit: The combat system, while unique and interesting, makes pretty much every random encounter ridiculously easy. The characters aren't very well developed, especially for a JRPG, because there are just way too many of them(like, 30 or 40 recruitable members). The plot is super pretentious, especially later on, and at certain points it even attempts to have an environmental/social message about how humans can't live without killing. But it doesn't matter. I fucking love it and all it's convoluted deepshit glory. The boss fights at least are challenging as well as fair, the combat system is a lot of fun and difficult to master, the story is crazy but it's got so many interesting concepts and is so hard to wrap your head around that even after playing it 3 or 4 times I still don't fully understand it. And then add in the fantastic musical score(especially dat opening theme), as well as just the great presentation in general(wonderful pre-rendered backgrounds, a great atmosphere, good art direction), it's just one of the best fucking RPGs of all time as well as one of the best games on the playstation. If you for some reason have not played it but want to, I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible. Unravel its mystery, and save not only the world, but all worlds. But remember: some forces are too powerful for death to stop.




7. Xenosaga Trilogy
 
Is it fair to list this as one thing when it's 3 games in the same series? Well A: it's my list so yeah who cares and B: they're all kinda one game. Or at least, one story. Hell, they're even titled "episodes". While each one is a standalone game they're all part of a bigger whole, the "Xenosaga" if you will(teehee). So yeah, I'll count them as one thing. I mean it's, unfortunately(as of "xenoblade"), the "xeno" series anyway, and since I'm not including Xenogears(also pretty good) in this I'd say it's okay. Xenosaga is one of the best RPGs of all time simply for the fact that it has such a huge scale world and scope to it, taking place in a vast sci-fi universe that has some fan-fucking-tastic world building. Mecha, cyborgs, artificial humans, warp drive, futuristic high tech cities, lasers, all sorts of cool sci-fi shit exists in this world. Add in a cast of fun and downright strange characters(one of them is implied to be literal actual Jesus) as well as a damn good and engaging battle system(though 2's was shit) fantastic music(for episode one, the talented Yasunori Mitsuda, and for 2 and 3, the great Yuki Kajiura), really damn good graphics, fantastic direction and great designs and it gets even better. Sure, this game is mostly cutscenes. In fact there tons of cutscenes, sometimes you get like 5 minutes of gameplay before another 15 minute cutscene. But they're all really GOOD often EXCITING AND TENSE cutscenes. The story is another super convoluted plot with tons and tons of biblical and other religious references, as well as influences from existentialism, Jungian psychology, nihilism and the works of Friedrich Nietzsche in general(all the episodes are named after his books) and all sorts of other things ensuring that no matter what it'll be interesting, crazy, and exceedingly grandiose. There's hardly a single moment in all of the hundred+ hours of these games that I'd call boring, it's all really great and makes you want to figure it all out, while developing the characters and their very natural well done angst all the while. Honestly it's kinda like if you made Neon Genesis Evangelion into a JRPG.



6. Fate/Extra

I used to be more into the Fate serious but, the more I think about it the worse it gets. It's not outright bad, like honestly if you accept the story is pretty much garbage it's totally an okay action anime. Obviously don't read the VN like people say, it's fucking boring. Kinoko Nasu I think possibly knows how to write well, he just chooses not to 90% of the time.  Fate/Zero was good but he didn't write that, Gen Urobuchi did. That's why I refuse to believe Nasu wrote this one either, and instead had a really good ghostwriter for it. Because Fate/Extra has one of the best stories in any RPG I've ever played. Gameplay wise it's not much, though bossfights are pretty good. It's a interesting battle system to be sure: It's basically rock, paper, scissors. You've got Attack, Defend, and Break. Attack is an attack and Defending can block it, as well as open your opponent up to a counter. Defend can be broken by a Break, which causes you damage. But break can be stopped by an Attack, as the Break assumes you're defending and goes full forces leaving you open to an attack. If you and your opponent both do the same action you tie, and in the event of an Attack or Break, you both take damage. Each round of combat your servant gets 6 turns, and you can take one turn where you cast a spell or use an item. If you get 3 successful attacks in a row, you can do an EX attack. It's fairly simple and not really much to write home about, though it's unique for sure. Now, the story on the other hand, is damn good. Tons of magi have gathered to take part in a battle for access to the Holy Grail, a supercomputer on the moon. This supercomputer has put together a virtual reality world for this contest, where magi will be given a servant(a digital recreation of a legendary hero) to fight for them and an opponent each week for 7 weeks that they have to fight. The story follows this formula: you get an opponent, learn as much as you can about them, and then fight and kill them. The story constantly gives you moral and philosophical questions surrounding this, including whether or not it's right for you, someone who actually does not even remember who you are and thus have no reason to seek the Holy Grail, to be killing these people who do have often very serious reasons to, just to survive. But even more than that, going into such concepts as complacency, whether or not we should relinquish our freedom in order to live in peace, whether or not it's right to sacrifice others for a greater cause, and interestingly whether or not war might actually be a necessary evil. All the while it builds up the dynamic between you and your arch nemesis, who has a very thematically relevant character and motivation. Theme is very strong in this game, and the themes are things that are legitimately important philosophical dilemmas. Not to mention you get to really know and bond with your player character, your servant, and your ally characters. There are no villains in this game, at worst there are people who you have to kill to survive or who you have to fight for purely ideological reasons. It's a game about the future being built upon sacrifice, about how maybe life isn't worth living if there are no struggles, and about what to do when thrust into a life or death situation. And most importantly: Who are you? It's not something you should overlook. 

It's too bad the sequel game seems like total shit and the anime is gonna be made by Shaft.



5. Tales of Graces f

Boy oh boy, what do I say about this one. This series is why I limited myself to just one game per series. Otherwise, Tales of Legendia, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Xillia, maybe even Tales of Zestiria, and this one would take up half of it. Hell honestly I even like Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Eternia. I really wanna play Tales of Rebirth somehow too. I love the tales series. But which is my favorite? That's probably Graces. Plot wise it's nothing spectacular. The actual events that unfold aren't that great, but like FFX its attention to character is what sets the story above the rest. Sure, all tales games are character focused. Sure, a lot of them have really great characters that are well developed, have interesting backstories and character arcs, and are just really endearing. Graces' characters are the most of that. They're all really great, funny, unique, well developed, well characterized, have great focused on backstories, and cool and fun and interesting and just super enjoyable. Even the one character I don't like is still at least alright. The story is built upon character dynamics, it even begins as a story of the downfall and slow crazification of a good close friend of the protagonist. Said protagonist, Asbel, refuses to give up on his friend and tries to save him. From there it transitions into a story about a country we're at war with and how they're not actually bad people, and are mostly only doing what they are due to the terrible state their country is in. It turns out everyone in the this world is just fighting to survive and for their people, even if they may be doing it in some questionable ways. Then in transitions into a story of a poor young child abused by science who ended up cursing the world, and turns out to be the driving force behind a lot of the events of the plot. More than that even, as one common theme, friendship is very important. Sure friendship is always important in JRPGs, but rarely is it so focused on and well developed. The game's tagline is even "Bonds of Friendship are Eternal". And it's not just about friendship, it's about bonds that can't be broken no matter how much they're strained. And trust me, they're strained a lot. It's about learning what friendship is, it's about a realistic but strong friendship, it's about how relying on your friends may be the only way save them. Friends are important and you need to remember that no-one can do great things alone. No matter how strong you are, without a friend to support you you'll crumble. But if your supports are strong enough, not even the flames of war nor the powers of a god can topple you. And hey, how about that battle system? It's just about the best battle system tales has ever had, it's incredibly fun and intuitive while also being very challenging and rewarding mastery. Once you get good at it you can chain together hundred hit combos that do tens of thousands of damage, maybe even upwards of 100,000. It's crazy. It words differently than other tales games, and even games that came after it that work on similar systems. You have AC, which allows you to perform combat actions. This includes martial artes, and burst artes. Martial artes are how you attack normally, and burst artes are your special attacks or your magic. All artes are assigned to a face button and a directional stick press, but you need to set your special attacks. It's best to set a burst on the direction the attack actually moves to make it more natural. You need to chain together regular attacks and special attacks with much greater timing, planning, and flow than any other tales game, and doing it properly can make you be a near unstoppable badass as you gain AC back by performing better, theoretically allowing you to continue attacking until your enemy is dead. However that won't work for most bosses, this is the most challenging and strategic of all the tales games and you need to stay on your toes. The game is so fun and addictive it's one of the few games I've put 100 hours into, and I remember staying up really late during the winter and playing it, going over to the window and opening it to let the chilly air wake me up a bit so I could go back to playing. It's a damn good game and I highly recommend it.


4. Mother 3

Oh look, it's Mother 3, a game that never came out in america despite nintendo planning to do it for a long ass time and then just... kinda not. Luckily for you, GBA emulators are super easy to use and can run on even shitty computers, and there is a high quality fan translation available for download. Just pirate yourself a ROM and get the translation, boot it up in a GBA emulator of your choice, and enjoy the ride. And boy, what a ride it is! Now ya see, the Mother/Earthbound series is pretty shit as a game. Even the old Dragon Quest games had more exciting battle graphics than this. Like there's no animation, you don't really see your attacks, maybe you'll get some shitty representation of you PSI, but it's just static sprites and some wobbly backgrounds. Wooooo. If I wanted to use my imagination I wouldn't be playing a videogame. But that said, everything else about the games(save for the first one) is just damn good. Earthbound was a fun humorous experience with an enjoyably silly but still fairly serious story about a young boy and his friends hitting monsters and crazy people with household objects and fireblasts until they eventually kill a god-baby in the future. Y-yeah. It was good. You know what was way better? Mother 3/Earthbound 2(as it was going to be called here in the states). It's damn good, really good. Fantastic, as a story. Twists and turns, tragedies, hardships, jokes, villains, heroes, it's got it all! It's an extremely well paced and well written story, with a great atmosphere and a constant sense that something is wrong even when it seems like it's not. It's got a fun cast of colorful characters, takes you along for a really great emotional ride, and is one of the best times I've had with a game ever. I honestly can't say much more about it without spoiling things, there's just so many great things about it. It starts off in the peaceful village of Tazmilly, which is invaded by soldiers called Pigmasks, who start fires, unleash monsters, and transform the local animals into aggressive cyborgs. Eventually, they even successfully take over the place and change the villager's lives entirely. For the better, or for the worse? For now that doesn't really matter, as your brother has gone missing and it seems the only way find him is to go on a quest. But what happens will change everything. The world is soon to end, only you can stop it, and you may have to make it past more than just physical challenges as well. What secrets does Tazmilly hold? Who is causing all of this? Who is this mysterious masked man? Then answers will shock you, I'm sure. I'd say it's probably one of the most moving stories ever told in an RPG, seriously. I guarantee that despite the simple graphics you'll get immersed in this story, and compelled to get to the end and solve the mystery. It's also not really that long for this kind of game, I think maybe 20-30 hours? Totally worth the time. It's a unique story told in a really endearing and fun way, and it'll make you feel all kinds of emotions. As someone with a cold dead heart I like that! It's a very unique game that incorporates plenty of plot points and elements of the previous entries to create a fantastic and rather sad finale to a mostly goofy story. Don't even get me started on that ending man, who knows what the fuck happened there. Really, even if you don't like it this is something that should be experienced by all, just to say that you have. Who knows, you might just feel the way I do about it. Also there's a monkey you can play as and one of your main party members is a dog.




3. Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter

Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, is the best game nobody's played. Calling it a cult game would be stretching it, and fans of Breath of Fire generally see it as an abomination that killed the franchise. Possibly due to being nothing like the others, to the point it wasn't even called "five" in the states. I, as well as a few other people, consider it's departure from the other games a good thing. While the other BoF games are certainly good, solid JRPGs, they're fairly standard. As a JRPG fan I like them a good amount but they aren't what I'd call my favorites. They're the kind of game you think of when you think "a pretty good RPG". Dragon Quarter isn't really what you think of when you think of RPGs at all. The plot is small scale, the battle system is not standard turn-based, there are few party members, it's not that long, saving is limited, it takes place in a dystopia, and if you use your special "hero of the story" powers too much you'll fuckin die. I could go on. The game is very difficult, it's a mix of survival parts of survival horror, and the regular RPG stuff. Like I said you can't save unless you have save tokens, money and items are limited, if you're not prepared and don't think your way through you'll die, and strategizing and being efficient extends throughout the whole game. You have a "d-counter", which increases when you use your dragon powers. If it reaches 100%, you die, game over, go back to last save. But it never resets, never goes down, only ever goes up. Meaning if you die from it, chances are it's too high already and your run is fucked. Any boss can be easily killed with it, but it'll quickly shave away at your life. So you've gotta only used it when absolutely necessary. And with the combat system, that can be a challenge. It's a strategy RPG, with AP(action points) used to move and attack. As long as you have AP you can do both, but once you run out you have to end your turn. Enemies also have this, so it's possible for them to just lay into you while you have to just take it. But you can, with proper planning, lay into them as well and wreck their shit. Fights, especially bossfights, are constant struggles of who's more skilled, rather than brute force competitions. Later bosses even have a shield that absorbs damage up until a certain point, meaning you have to do more damage than their shields can take per turn to hurt them. But the thing is, once you get the hang of it, it's not that hard. It's a game you have to be good at in order to beat, and if you're not? That's okay! When you die, you're given the option to start over from the beginning with certain things carrying over. One of these things is "party XP", items that can be used on any character to level them up. Not to mention, when you start over again you can get tons of new scenes via the "Scenario OverLay(SOL)" system. Similar to how new game plus adds tons to the story of NieR, these scenes expand upon and deepen the already well told story. And what is the story? Mankind lives underground, so long they're not even sure there's a sky or even more to the world than just the underground. People are given D-Ratios(which is actually likelihood of linking with a dragon), with the higher the ratio equating to the better the life you'll live. Human Worth is quantified. Low-Ds, those with low D-ratios, live in squalor they have no hope of leaving. The air is polluted and people are slowly dying. The government manipulates and does terrible things to its people. Ryu, a member of a police force called Rangers, ends up saving a test subject for a type of human purification device called Nina, and ends up working with a rebel from the terrorist organization called Trinity. Ryu desperately wants to save Nina, even if it means betraying the Rangers and the government. So, he sets out to try and reach the fabled "surface", where Nina will be able to live, as she'll die if she continues to breath the polluted air. But, does Ryu want to do this of his own will, or by the will of the dragon Odjn, with whom he managed to link despite his very low D-Ratio. The story isn't particularly complex, or really all that deep. It is, however, told incredibly well, with a writing and atmosphere to it that makes it so much more effective. It also features one of my favorite things: Friends ending up enemies who are destined to kill each other. It's a really great game and it's criminally underrated. It's not so hated now as it used to be but it's still not fondly remembered as a classic, which I think it should be. The only real problem with the game is that it looks like shit, even for PS2. Seriously, it is an ugly game. Go play it!

"Man will gain wings, and the sky will return to the world."

 

2. UNDERTALE

WEE-OOH, WEE-OOH. WHAT'S THAT OH THAT'S JUST THE UNDERTALE ALARM SHIT BAIL OUT BAIL OUT ABORT MISSION WE GOT A LIVE ONE OVER HERE, NUKE THE SITE FROM ORBIT IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE.

I'm sure that's what you, dear reader, are thinking right now. Well I don't blame you. I feel your pain brother! I've yet to meet an Undertale fan that I don't fucking hate. Even some Steven Universe fans I can at least tolerate. I could go on and on for hours about how much I hate all the different subclasses of Undertale fan, cuz trust me there are tons of them. The study of Undertale fans should be taught in college there are so many different types of mouthbreathers. But I mean you know it, I know it, everyone knows it. I feel great shame for liking this game because of them. It's a fandom full of sjws, furries, children, manchildren, cringey autists, memers, and pretty much everything else that makes the internet terrible. Because of that it's really hard to admit that I even like this game, let alone talk about it. But for the sake of this list, forget the fans; how is Undertale as a game? Well, really fuckin good. Fair warning, if you don't like Mother 3 you're probably gonna not like this game. It's no secret that it lifts a good chunk of it's tone, atmosphere, plot structure, and even humor from Mother 3. It lifts a lot from a lot of things. That's why I like it. This game may have been praised for being "original" and all that but the fact of the matter is, people like me enjoy things that are very familiar, yet just different enough to be worth it. Undertale is one of those things. I won't say it does nothing original but the main reasons I like it is because it reminds me of JRPGs I love so much. Yes, here we have the real reason this is "RPGs" and not "JRPGs". Even then though, it may as well be one. It's got the visual style and combat graphics of the Mother series(though I'd prefer it had it's own style), a plotline ripped ripped right out of a Tales game and oddly enough the entry above this(which makes me feel like Toby Fox, creator of Undertale, was a fan of that game), setting and lore and even story themes that reminds me of pretty much any modern japanese story with youkai in it, and a myriad of other things. It's pretty fuckin cool, like some huge fuckin' nerd made a game trying to be like all the games he likes. But that's just story. Game wise I mean it's not that impressive. Like I said it's very mothery in gameplay, but what I like about the gameplay is how it integrates with the story. Undertale makes great use of the fact it's a game, not only have lots of important character development and exposition told through in-battle text bubbles, but also through all sorts of well implemented meta-narrative tools. Saving and Loading your game are real, in-universe things you're doing. Gaining a higher level means it's easier for you to kill as you're getting more used to it. The main antagonist crashes the game before you fight him on the Normal Ending route and continues to do so every time you lose. Your very actions as a player affect the story, to the point where there are 3 different story routes determined not by dialogue choices, but simple actions. Not to mention a lot of deeper aspects that are bigger spoilers than what I just told you. It's a game that gets you immersed in it and makes you even more invested in the story. The story of which, while having some bumps along the way, is still really fucking good. The characters are fun and endearing, it has tons of philosophical themes, the plot is moving and emotional not to mention sometimes very funny and uplifting. It also happens to be one of the few games where I'd say having a silent protagonist is warranted. Then of course you have the soundtrack, which only boosts the atmosphere, emotion, and intensity. Sure, some of the songs aren't great on their own, but every track fits the mood of what's it's used in perfectly. I could link you all of my favorite tracks but that would drag this on even longer, so instead I'll give you the only song you need: Track 71: Undertale. Like I said though, it's not without plenty of faults for sure. While I can't note any more than a few bad memes, sometimes the jokes can be bad and memey and cringey. There's an entire "town" in the game full of lol so randum joke characters and I hate them. Depending on your corniness tolerance and suspension of disbelief, the story could either be great like it was for me or downright laughable. But I'd still say it was a really special game for me and one I'm glad I played. If you've ever had even a slight inclination to play this game, go ahead and do so. At worst you wasted 10 bucks and 150 mb of HDD space.



1. Shin Megami Tensei: P4 -Persona 4-

Oh boy here we go the number 1 mother fucking Persona fucking 4 motherfucker. What do I even say about this? No really, what? Everyone who's played this game likes it. It was a huge thing when it game out. It got an even better version on the Vita that I want to play someday, a TV anime, a movie recut of the TV anime, an anime based on the extra stuff from the vita game, a fighting game, and a fucking rhythm game. Like wow. It's a big deal, plenty has been said, everyone has pretty much only positive things to say about it. I'm beating a dead horse here, but maybe I can put my unique spin on this to explain why it's not only my favorite RPG of all time, but for sure in my top 10 games in general. Hell it's in the top 5 at least.

Persona 4 is the only other game where a silent protagonist is warranted in my eyes. Undertale uses it for some really good stuff that goes into spoiler territory and also bolsters the meta-narrative, but P4 used it as a way to add to the overall experience. See, you name the character, decide aspects of his personality, choose what he says, you basically are the main character of this game. While spin offs/ adaptations give him a defined personality, the main game itself doesn't. This is to allow you to insert yourself into this story better. Not because it wants you to partake in some mindless escapism, but because it gives you a closer connection to the cast and plot. These are your friends you're trying to rescue and help through their teenage angst. You are trying to solve this mystery. You have to face yourself. You become a part of this story and it becomes all the more powerful because of it. The overall theme of friendship and truth rings much louder when instead of vicariously and passively moving this story along, you actually take part in it. It really gives you the feeling that you are making these friends, crafting these bonds, causing these people to grow. You gotta accept the truth.

Truth is a big theme of P4. It asks the philosophical question that has been asked for many many years: Is it better to live a lie where everyone is happy, or a truth where no one is? It goes further than that, asking if you can actually be happy without accepting the truth, or if saying you're happy in that case is also a lie. It's one of the reasons I fairly strictly and without question believe that the truth is always preferable. P4 also makes commentary on how that isn't the case for most people. People would rather turn away from the truth, create a comfortable lie, hide from things that are difficult to accept. Worse than that, even if their lies or rumors are actually worse, they'll believe that instead if it's more interesting to believe. This seems to be the case for the world today. Obviously people have always been like this, especially making up lies to make themselves feel better, but a particular type of person prefers to believe blatant falsehoods and twistings of truth over reality because it's far simpler to accept for them and they can continue to be outraged and further shut out opposing opinions and even people. I'll leave it up to you to decide who I'm talking about. What this game goes into is now and will sadly always be relevant. The main antagonist of the game is actually all about this, as she actually wants to give people what they desire. She sees the lies and deceptions and delusions people come up with, and has it in her head this is simply what people want. So she devised a way to take that to an extreme, trying to fill the world with "comforting fog" that would let people live in blissful ignorance like they wanted. Our heroes, who have since learned you can't just turn your eyes away from reality, decide that they don't like this and are gonna stop it. The main antagonist says that they're going against the wishes of humanity, and will have to prove themselves worthy. One boss calls our group "children of the new potential". That's another theme of this game: potential. People have the potential to become "seekers of truth" but they often don't. However, it might just be the duty of those who don't reject reality to make those who do accept it, whether they like it or not. But enough pseudo-intellectual sputtering. I've told you what the game is "about", but what's it about? Well, it's a supernatural murder mystery. You take on the role of Yuu Narukami(or at least that's his canon name), a transfer student to the small town of Inaba. Soon after you arrive you there's a murder. And then another. You end up getting involved in the investigation of these murders but only because you realize there's a connection between them and "the world inside the TV", which for some reason you are able to enter. With the help of a denizen of the TV world and your friends, you try to rescue people who have been thrown inside to die at the hands of strange creatures called "shadows" by the killer. Said people end up confronting their own shadow, which inevitably forms a boss fight, and once accepted turns into a Persona. You do this several times, learning more about the characters(including characters that don't participate in the plot), the mystery, and the weird supernatural shadows and the TV world. So basically, the story is pretty fucking sweet. As for gameplay, it's part of the SMT series, and more specifically the Persona subseries. This means that strategy is pretty important, including the fact that enemy weakness, status effects, and buffs/debuffs are actually pretty important. When an enemy is hit with it's weakness or a crit, it's knocked down, when all enemies are knocked down you can do an all out attack and hit all of them. It's pretty cool and there's even a boss that requires you to do it to beat it. But why do I like this game so much? Well if all the story and themes weren't enough, the characters are some of the most endearing and fun and cool I've ever seen in a game or any piece of fiction really. They do such a great job at them, making them kind of annoying to outright obnoxious when you first meet them, to being great an amazing through the power of character growth. Each one has problems, hang ups, angst and insecurities that hinder them in some way, and a huge part of the game is helping them through that while learning more about them and building your bonds with them. That's right, it's another JRPG about friendship! But it's done so damn well, as building and continuing friendships is not just a focus but an actual game mechanic. When you aren't solving the mystery by dungeon crawling, you're hanging out with friends and completing their individual stories. You're rewarded not only with EXP boosts, but powerful personas and one of my favorite moments of the game. Said moment happens when the Big Bad has almost beaten you... and your friends all call out to you and encourage you to get back up and fight. You do so, taking massive blow after massive blow. You toss off the special glasses they use to see through the fog in TV world, and use one final attack to defeat the enemy. You throw those glasses away because you don't need them anymore to see the truth.

Add in the fact it's got a great fuckin cool as shit atmosphere, lots of fun side stuff to do, great humor and so many endearing qualities including it's funky soundtrack, and god dammit you got one of the best games of all time. Just ask Jeff Gerstmann and Vinny Caravella! I really can't wait to play The Golden version.



And there you have it! Those were my top 10 RPGs. What to do you think? Are you mad Undertale is on here. Do you think Persona 4 is overrated? Did FFX ruin Final Fantasy(it didn't)? Is Xenosaga too pretentious? Is Chrono Cross a shit? Or maybe there are just some games you think shoulda been on this list but weren't. Whatever you think, please tell me in the comments!


Unless it's that Tales of Graces isn't good.

Comments

  1. I'm too tired to leave any meaningful comment but I'll talk with you about this anyway probably so that's probably fine.

    I'm just commenting to say for now this a GOOD LIST and I liked reading it a lot. It got me more interested in Fate/Extra, you explained it before and it sounded alright but here made it sound REALLY COOL AND GOOD (though I hope it's on PSN and playable on Vita cuz I don't want to really deal with charging my PSP when I eventually try to play it but if I have to I will), reminded me of the EVERYTHING I love about almost all of these games that I did play already, and made me consider watchin that BoF thing you linked me soon (if I don't keep forgetting even though I literally put it on my desktop on purpose back then) for sure as well as maybe trying to tolerate Mother 3 for the cute tomboy and story some day.

    I can see why these your favorites for sure and MOST of them I can even agree on, though you need to play Golden and Witcher 3 (watch you're gonna hate it somehow) still for sure and I think Xenosaga and somewhat Graces aren't high enough on the list for me.

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